High School State Championships: Kentucky Boys and Girls

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky, February 27. FIVE state records were erased during the Kentucky High School Swimming and Diving Championships Feb. 25-26 at the University of Louisville.

Trinity sophomore Thomas Cooper lowered the long-standing boys 100 free mark which Nate Dusing had held since 1997 (44.93) with his prelim swim of 44.71. He came back in finals to win the event in 45.09. Max Williamson, a junior at Covington Catholic, broke the boys 500 free mark with his 4:28.89. The previous record was held by Scott Ryan (4:29.87) since 1987. Both record-setters emerged as double-event champions: Cooper took the 50 free (20.67), and Williamson captured the 200 IM (1:49.58).

Notre Dame senior Caitlyn Forman lowered her record in the girls 100 back from last year (54.15) to 53.89 in prelims this year. She came within 5-hundredths of that in finals, winning in 53.94. Cooper sophomore Sharli Brady set a new standard in the 500 free with her 4:47.56. Caroline Burckle had set the previous mark of 4:48.79 in 2004. Brady's second win came in the 200 IM (2:02.36). Sacred Heart senior Becca Corbett set a state record 509.30 in the girls 1-meter diving. The record prior to that was Jessica Lyden's 498.10 points in 2008.

Western Hills senior Kirsten Nitz missed the state record in the girls 100 fly by 1-hundredth with her 54.18 and splashed her way to a first-place 23.59 in the 50 free.

In a tight battle for first, duPont Manual scored 351 to 341.5 for runner-up Sacred Heart Academy. Notre Dame Academy came in third (191), followed by the Christian Academy of Louisville (162) and North Oldham (128).

DuPont Manual's Sarah Love, a junior, claimed the 100 free victory in 51.18. She also anchored their winning 400 free relay along with junior Elizabeth House, freshman Kimberly Zehnder and senior Konnor Rist.

Sacred Heart freshman Leah Stevens grabbed first in the 200 free (1:50.60) and senior Miranda Mercke topped the field in the 100 breast (1:03.83). Sacred Heart's 200 medley relay of sophomore Ashley LeClair, Mercke, freshman Victoria Horsman and sophomore Madison Lichtfeld grabbed first in the 200 medley relay (1:44.98), and the quartet of Le Clair, Lichtefeld, senior Rebecca Sears and Mercke combined for a 1:36.76-1:36.86 victory over duPont Manual's Love, Zehnder, junior Jordan Carovona and senior Emily Holt.

St. Xavier blew away the rest of the field in the boys race with their 484.5 points. Coming in second was Covington Catholic (235), followed by Trinity (189), duPont Manual (155) and Ballard (131).

St. Xavier's relays put up winning times of 1:34.36 in the 200 medley with the team of senior Michael Scheid Jr., juniors Nicholas Sehlinger and Garrett Stephens, and freshman William Buese and 1:26.04 in the 200 free relay with seniors William Kantlehner and Patrick Peters, plus juniors Mitchell Forde and Stephens. Buese topped the 100 fly field in 50.95 and Scheid came home with a victory in the 100 back (51.17). Covington Catholic spoiled a St. Xavier sweep by grabbing the 400 free relay title in 3:08.89. Williamson led off, followed by sophomore Chase Vennefron and seniors Sam Mullen and Henter Pasek.

Ballard junior Jake Schultz nabbed the 200 free victory with his 1:42.92. Connor Lohman, a junior at Kentucky Country Day School, completed the 100 breast in 57.76 for the win. Beechwood senior Justin Youtsey was the top boys diver with his final score of 510.25 points.